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Creative Economy : The Value of Thai Culture beyond Financial Wealth Illusion

            The “illusion” which was born together with capitalism is that art is waste because it does not provide the society with any output. While humanity is experiencing starvation, artists are obsessed with their unrealistic dream and beauty.

            In the 21st century, the world had overcome starvation for such a long time that people started to look for art and joy. This is the origin of creative economy strategy which aims at transforming human vivid imagination into great products to continuously drive forward the mechanism for capitalism.

            Wrong perception of artists’ artwork creation process in the long run would destroy the dream and hope to develop creative economy into a new mechanism. Therefore, Thai people should thoroughly study the “root” of creativity so that sharp strategies to develop the creative economy can be formulated, and Thailand will not need to be a slave of those powerful countries like the industrial revolution period.     

            There is interconnection among human creativity in creating innovations, establishing laws, developing democracy, decorating art, and shaping cultures. Nothing may exist alone.

            Artists are always accused of sleepwalking in the dream. But at least, every artist has friends and society, and creative materials are derived more or less from their environment.

            Genius scientists who live for mathematics and complicated equations need a space to meet their scientist peers to exchange opinions. Moreover, research theories under their conceptualisation are more or less aligned with the social context of their time.

            The perspective that divides “economy, science, and technology” from politics, society, and culture is therefore only an outcome of capitalism where all focus and resources of a company are concentrated on efficiency enhancement. But this dream has never come true, even in the smallest factory.

            Successful creative economy should not be trapped in the separation of art, technology, and business. On the opposite, the free-flow of various elements needs to be allowed. To temporarily abandon discipline-based perspective, and to begin lively dialogues with worldwide people is the best strategy to ensure the blossoming of creative products. More importantly, the strategy need lower cost than to pressure creative people to develop the best product out of limited raw materials and inspiration in own discipline.

            The premium raw material in the creative economy is certainly the national culture as it is the only thing that reflects the uniqueness which cannot be imitated by other countries. Nonetheless, transforming culture into value added for products and services need smart approaches. Otherwise, creative products derived will be boring and unattractive to customers, especially when there is a strong competition among creative products from many countries.

            Thai culture may not be of doubtful wealth and delicacy. But you should be aware that so are the culture of other countries. So, the final call depends on “depth” in shaping aesthetics of the culture to ensure it is as impressive as possible.

  

www.flickr.com By Dave_B_

            The unique point of creative economy, compared to industrial one, is that technology to transform raw materials into finished products is not a constant approach like scientific formula. On the contrary, techniques to polish cultural raw materials are of dynamic nature, similar to artworks. This is especially the case when Thai culture is deeply rooted in Thai lifestyle. So, extracting the core elements depends on each individual emotions and characteristics, resulting in none of instant and international formula.

            Factory management has a certain principle, which is to do anything to minimise the laziness of workers. But to manage creative products, artists’ relax time might be the best moment when their creativity reach the highest level. If the manager intervenes this great moment, the effort to develop the creative products might become a total failure.

            “To thoroughly learn and understand others” is the best strategy to unleash creativity power of Thai people. Pressuring creative people to create products when they are not ready results in unattractive and defective products. But leaving them to develop their products on their own might result in a delay in delivery. More importantly, creativity needs sufficient raw materials and inspiration, by which synthesis of products may take only a brief moment. But with incomplete amount of them, it may take decades or never to do so.    

            In the creative economy, it is inevitable to drop the “identity”, in terms of perspective, culture, nurture, and professional expertise. With own thinking boundary, exchange of rich and diverse information cannot occur. Consequently, without tremendous amount of high-quality raw materials and inspiration, excellent creativity will become only a fading dream.

            As a result, pooling cultural resources from 77 provinces to be raw materials for creative products should not start from business “perspective” even though the output is products in capitalism. This is because business requirements may dilute some delicate cultural raw materials. So, learning to understand the perspective of local people is the most significant part of creating creative products. Of course, at the beginning, this may incur high production cost. But in the long term, it will be similar to technology-based economy where there is a high research cost but production unit cost after that will be surprisingly lower.

            Similarly, if creative business people thoroughly understand the lifestyle of local people, good feeling towards each other will increase. Local people will then be open and willing to exchange their wisdom with the businessmen, their good friends. More importantly, they will naturally absorb business mindset due to constant interaction. Finally, when business perspective and culture are closely interlinked, teamwork to develop creative products will move quickly forward to compensate the cost and time invested in the thorough learning period.  

            The outstanding part of Thai culture when compared to other countries’ is the art and liveliness in building rapport with strangers. Thai people call others with kinship terms despite of the fact that it is the first time they meet. Regrettably the Thai beauty of developing friendship with worldwide people has decreased in the strong current of globalisation. However, when the wind of capitalism has changed its direction, returning to focus on consumption of products with creativity and emotional value, it is a great opportunity for Thai people to revive the interaction with diverse people to be national uniqueness again.

            Thailand may be deemed by global creative economy thinkers as having “weak basis of knowledge-based society,being impossible to develop sustainable creative economy.”  Nevertheless, Thai people can compensate this weakness by learning to understand the perspective and emotion of people from various professions and background in order to systhesise creative products. On the contrary, this learning to understand others is a scarce ability of the Western people as they are too obsessed with finding concrete knowledge. But Thai people should not underestimate the Western people because all knowledge in the world can be rapidly caught up with by everyone, especially in the extremely fast-moving globalisation.   

            “Creativity” is scarce raw material and product. Especially in this period of superfluous consumption, creativity becomes quickly obsolete. So, sustainable creative economy development needs techniques to make creativity continuously flow from human brain. That is to make the creative economy lively, full of stories, and colors of lifestyle.

            Thai culture therefore should not be lessened into only a money making machine of the creative economy. On the opposite, the lively interaction with diverse people should be revived in Thai culture. This will enable mutual learning in the great and strong current of globalisation. Thai culture needs to change its strategy from turning its back to the real world into proactively walking forward to learn worldwide different lifestyle. This is so that Thai culture can choose to absorb only the best part from all countries rather than being forced to learn what may be in conflict with Thai people characteristics.

            Revival of Thai culture, including dropping “identity” to thoroughly learn different beauty of people in all regions of the country, and opening the perspective to absorb the best part of all cultures worldwide, is rich raw material and inspiration for all Thai people to cooperate in developing Thailand creative economy to be forever number one.

www.siamintelligence.com

Translated by Thaya Wichayathian

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  • Published Date: 2010-05-03
  • Resource: www.creativethailand.org